By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. Retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kristian Mathews spent the last few months of his 16 year Army career at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii Warrior Transition Unit recovering from a myriad of injuries sustained over three years of deployments to the Middle East. While recovering at the WTU, Mathews learned he was being medically retired and placed on the permanent disability retired list. The realization of retirement forced Mathews to begin to think about what he was going to do next.
"I was briefed on the [Career Education and Readiness] internship program by Mr. Danny Dulay, the Transition Coordinator for the Hawaii WTU. I prepared my resume and submitted it to him," Mathews said.
Dulay, took Mathews resume and submitted it to the coordinator at the Navy Supply Systems Command at the Fleet Logistics Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii. Mathews was brought in for an interview and the following week he got the call to join their team as a Motor Vehicle Operator intern, in the NAVSUP Vehicle Operations division.
"I spent several months assigned to the organization while on terminal/transition leave, until my retirement in May of 2018," said Mathews.
"The CER program allowed Mathews to work on his resume and get feedback from an actual hiring manager, as well as the opportunity to go through the interview process. The internship also gave Mathews the opportunity to work in the civilian sector for the first time as he prepared to transition into retirement.
"[The internship] prepared me for civilian employment and allowed me to continue working with the military, but in a different role within the Department of Defense," said Mathews, who encourages all Soldiers in the WTU's to take advantage of the CER program.
Upon retirement, Mathews was ready for life in the civilian world thanks to what he learned. Armed with the resume the program helped him write and his new found job interview skills, Mathews was immediately hired by the United States Postal Service in Honolulu as a Tractor Trailer Operator where he worked for six months until he was eligible for employment opportunities with the Department of Defense.
"I was hired as a Motor Vehicle Operator with NAVSUP, right back with the team I was with during my internship," Mathews said. "I was welcomed back and continued working as if I had never left and have been there ever since."
Mathews now works full time operating buses, trucks, tractor/trailers, forklifts, tow trucks, and other vehicles and equipment to support the military mission throughout Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.